Thursday, 27 November 2014


Nice to meet you!

I have been an active blogger since 2010 anddecided to continue blogging on this websiteexclusively. 

Each week, I will be taking my favoriteentries from my previous blog, on writingtips based on my personal experience.

For those of you who have visited myprevious blog and have seen my....

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


Finally, I have signed on with a publisher and 'Keep Your Enemies Closer' will be published in print as well as EBOOK version in 2015. However, the title and cover image will be completely different so keep a lookout!

Thank you again for all of your support and I will definitely be posting some writing advice soon! I am excited to have you, readers, on this journey right alongside me.

Monday, 30 June 2014


A Short Review before the Interview...

‘The sound of the engine was the only thing audible, a steady and perpetual drone that in its unbroken regularity granted comfort to those on board.’

Are you hooked? How could you not be!

The novel is captivating from the beginning. It is a story that begins action-packed and reminisces the drama of normal East London boys, Muslim and non-Muslim. This is the journey of three teenagers who become men after having battled temptations, both frivolous and dangerous, that lead them all to one place and a whole other level of challenges...Oblivion. Like any novel, there is a lesson to be learned and only one way to find that out.

R.How did you come up with the title?

I. ‘Shades’ is a synonym for the words ‘types’ and ‘oblivion.’ It’s the unofficial name given to the detention center that the three characters are sent to. It also bears a metaphorical connation. As the characters proceed throughout the story, they arrive at various junctures in which they need to make decisions. The wrong decision can ultimately lead them into a metaphorical oblivion.

R.Why did you publish under a pen name?

I.Ibn Adam means son of Adam in Arabic and I believe all human beings are the sons and daughters of Adam. The collocation is also a way that Arab writers, ie. IbnKathir, IbnJawzziya, of the past have published their works. Instead of using their real names, they simply wrote Ibn (son of) followed by their father’s name or the name of the region they came from.

R.Where did you get your inspiration from and who is your target readership?

I.There is no specific target audience. I wrote Shades of Oblivion for two main reasons.

Firstly, I feel there is a huge gap in the field of Islamic literature and I hope to inspire other budding Muslim authors to take up the mantle.

Secondly, I believe that the medium of literature can be a powerful tool when examining human nature. Novels take a reader on a journey whereby they can enter lives that would otherwise be out-of-reach. They also enable the reader to intimately follow a character and observe his/her choice or decisions that ultimately define him/her. Shades of Oblivion is not just an Islamic novel, but also a humanistic one about the everyday Muslim, someone who is often ignored or misrepresented by the media.

R.Describe your writing journey.

I.When I initially put pen to paper two years ago to write Shades of Oblivion, I was unsure of what to expect and uncertain about whether or not I would be able to finish it once I started it, write it with fluency or even publish it. The plot has since gone through many changes due to revisions. Nonetheless, the creative process of crafting a literary composition has been in itself a most gratifying experience and one that I would encourage other aspiring authors to pursue.

R.Describe your journey toward publication.

I.I initially went through the traditional means of getting the book published and received positive feedback from literary agents. However, they all declined to support the book. One agent stated that “a thought-provoking novel presenting Muslims in a positive light just would not sell in this day and age.” I have since managed to publish the book independently. Therefore, Shades of Oblivion was crafted without the help of editors, literary agents or proofreaders.

R.Are there patches of yourself in your novel?

I.The novel is essentially a fictitious piece of the work. Writing is a cathartic process and I think it is impossible to entirely separate an author’s work from the author. I would say that there are aspects of all three characters that reflect me and also people that I have met throughout my life.
R.What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I.Keep on writing. Writing is an exploitative journey and what you start off with is rarely what you will end up with. It is easy to get bogged down by diction, grammar and punctuation rules. I abandon all of these things in the first draft and simply write whatever is in my head. I think my first draft would be illegible to most people. Once I have a chapter down, I go back and slowly correct mistakes, add details, change vocabulary, etc.

I would also recommend reading a lot, especially books by authors that you wish to emulate. Pay special attention to their use of language and how they weave the plot and structure together.

R.Where and how can readers get a copy of your book?

I.The novel is available digitally and in paperback format by a number of retailers including the iBook’s store and Amazon Kindle. The eBook can be read across all digital platforms including PC, Mac, Apple, Android, Kindle.

To get a glimpse of the book and download the first six chapters or 60 pages for free, please visit the website

Friday, 6 December 2013


Learning is a part of everyday life so we never stop learning. It is not a vicious cycle, rather, a warm and comforting be able to guide and to be guided. I am an English teacher in Stockholm who not only teaches, but also learns from her students. I was once a learner and now a teacher and still, a learner. Learning begins at home and transcends into something greater, a teamwork between home and school.

I once did  a philosophy paper on Ned Nodding's 'care theory,' in which the teacher is the caregiver and if the teacher shows the students that he or she cares about them, then the students can sense that and care as well, for each other, for the subject-at-hand and for the teacher.

While being interviewed by the principals of some schools in Stockholm, I stuck to Ned Nodding's theory because I wholeheartedly agree with it, but to be honest, it is only common sense. I said that the teacher should show the students that they care and will not give up on them, it is only a good thing and the class functions better that way. Even more, when the teacher shows a passion for the subject that he or she teaches, students can sense that passion and in turn, they also get excited about the subject-at-hand.

I have taught 5th, 6th and 7th grade English in Stockholm, Sweden. Now, I teach 8th grade English. It is very different compared to teaching English in English speaking countries because there is less room for a continuous intellectual discourse between teacher and students and more required room for the basics because English, in Sweden, is a second language.

That means that I am expected to know Swedish before I can teach English. Thankfully, with the help of my Swedish speaking family members, a one-year intense course led by talented teachers and the mere necessity of speaking the language on a daily basis, I am practically fluent (some say, I already am). Most of my students can speak Swedish, most of them understand English, while a minority of them cannot even speak Swedish, let alone English. That is due to the fact that they have just moved into Sweden from other countries such as Iraq, Syria, Poland, etc....

Stockholm, although not as variegated as London, is still quite a diverse city and getting very close to London's level of diversity. It is a challenge for an English teacher like myself.  This is why extra help or tutoring time is necessary within or after school hours. That is why pictures speak louder than words and something along the lines of charades are good teaching tactics. That is why a teacher needs to show that he or she cares for the student and instill hope within that student by the use encouraging words like, 'Good,' 'Excellent,' or 'Perfect!'

The first school I worked in was an international school, the educational system very similar to that of Great Britain and USA. I felt at home. After a few months, I accepted the challenge of working in a Swedish school, where all of the teachers must speak Swedish first, even in English class. There was another difference, the difference of lecturing and majority rules. At the international school, teachers are used to giving instructions and teaching as they wish, sort of like a dictatorship...students almost never have the choice to choose what material they wish to read or how they should read (silently or out-loud).

I, being used to the English system, instructed the kids at the Swedish school to read out loud. Some began complaining that they wanted to read quietly. My partner teacher (there are two per class in this particular Swedish secondary school) said, "Let's just ask them what they want to do. Raise your hand if you want to read quietly." Majority ruled and they read quietly, to themselves.

From my experience so far, both systems work, whether lecturing or majority rules. I just find it so fascinating how they teach and grade at the Swedish schools compared to the English ones. I am very grateful to have such an experience. Each time, I find myself getting more and more attached to the students. I can say one thing, the hardest part about being a teacher is saying 'Goodbye' because every year, there is a new batch of students to break the ice with, guide and then, wish them 'good luck' or 'lycka till' in Swedish, for the next school year.

The following are images of 'farewell thank you' cards I received from my students at the international school, before I transferred into the Swedish school. The first is a note from a 7th grader's parents, accompanied by flowers and the second is a huge card made lovingly by my 5th graders! I miss them and hope to visit again soon.



Every year, I go to USA, I make an effort to meet up with two of my old high school teachers, my English teacher, Mr. Mossler and my Journalism teacher, Ms. Nye. They were both very passionate for their subjects, both really cared for their students and most of all, both brilliantly prepared me for University and the world. They are the epitome of the 'care theory' and the cycle of education. I still learn from them and it gives them pride to see one of their students becoming something in life.

Sunday, 5 May 2013


Jag, mig, själv på Moderna Museet

Is he Obsessive compulsive (OCD)? Is she just pure evil? 

Does he think that people who get married are forced to do so via social norm and that those who actually want to get married are idiots...and then, he meets the gorgeous, witty and smart new girl next door who completely changes his mind?

Is she a hopeless romantic who spends most of her time reading novels anddrinking coffee at cafes, hoping that ‘the one’ will walk toward her, utter ‘Hello,’ and start the venture to a lifelong relationship?

Does his life depend on the wages he makes as a fortune-teller at the carnival until one day, he correctly tells a businessman’s fortune, who decides to, in turn, gives him a business proposal, thereby bestowing him with millions?

Could she be the jobless, single mother who sneaks into her neighbour’s home to steal their gold jewelry, thinking that it is the only path to survival in paying off her debts and keeping a roof over her children’s homes?
Is he the cunning con artist who will change personalities if he has to? Is she the company receptionist who eats up all the gossip and spits it out as soon as she signs in the next person?

::Sigh:: Breathe…take it all in….

Do you know these people? Have you looked into their eyes? Have you read about them in newspapers? Have you seen a ‘WANTED’ AD? Has someone told you a funny, strange or disturbing story that they heard from someone else? Has a friend of a friend of a friend passed down a forwarded story via the internet or text that you found intriguing enough to turn into a novel? Have you looked in the mirror lately and wondered what type of personality should your next character or protagonist exert?

Believable and relatable characters, even extractions of our inner selves become personalities, whether a bubbly girl-next-door or an obsessive-compulsive man. The truth is we look for inspiration around us, often in others and mostly, in ourselves or so…I think. Here are some photographs of artwork I have seen around Stockholm, Sweden. Look into their eyes, can you read their personalities?

'Exhibition Poster' by Andy Warhol
1968, Moderna Museet

'Think...Dow Shalt Not Kill...,' by
Sture Johannesson,1967, Moderna Museet

'Portrait of a Danish Author, Helge Rode'
by Edvard Munch, 1908, Moderna  Museet

'Young Mother and Her Child, Capri,'
by Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann, 1880
'A Swedish Fairy Tale,' by Carl Larsson, 1897, Nationella Museet

Friday, 2 November 2012


A short story I entered into a competition; though I did not win, it was an honour to have been judged by such a prestigious group of renowned writers. Now, I share it with you. I was inspired by what domestic violence groups, like 'NOUR DV,' are doing. NOTE: This is a work of fiction.

Love is a fiend, a fire, a heaven, a hell,
Where pleasure, pain and sad repentance dwell.
*Richard Barnfield, 1574-1627*


               The sun, ablaze, feels like it’s disintegrating through the roof only to target me. My parents would rather that I stir cloves, cumin seeds, and cinnamon sticks into a pot of boiling tea, than enjoy a relaxing dip in the lake.  
               While I cannot grasp how it is that aromatic spices taste like the soil beneath my own cinnamon-complexioned feet, my mother commands, “Rumi Begum, why can’t you seem to keep your shawl on your head?” Mother is a short and stubby woman, but she lives up to matriarchal standards.
              “It keeps slipping off my head… and what if it catches on fire?” I refute, pointing to the gas beneath the teapot. Why can’t we just buy a kettle and have tea like the British do, simple and quick? “My arms are getting tired,” I moan.
             “Stop complaining! You’re nearly done. The guests have arrived.”
             With that, Mother struts off to keep the guests company. The guests, I think to myself, the guests…that have come all the way from England, just to see me, apparently. Who knows what the truth is; Mother’s known to embellish her stories.  
Regardless, she powders my face, slaps some crimson gloss onto my lips and blushes my cheeks to match my crimson salwar. To top it all off, she outlines my eyes with liquid eyeliner and fake lashes. I hate makeup! Why mask my face as if I’m ashamed of how I look? I’m sure men prefer confident women.
            “I’m perfectly fine with how I look, Ma,” I say. “Any man who sees a woman with dark skin and long, silky hair like mine will drop to his knees and present me with, what’s that famous ring…Tiffany! A Tiffany diamond ring.”
           “Tut!” she hisses before tucking my plaited hair beneath a shawl.
            Tray in-hand, I try to obediently follow instructions. Lowering my gaze, I attempt to daintily tiptoealong the corridor, but the cacophony of my bangles and anklets won’t let me.
             Kneeling down, eyes nearly-shut, I place the tray gently onto the table and serve firstly, Mr. Potential-Husband-to-be, followed by his parents. Finally, my parents.
            What’s wrong with me? I ask myself. How is it that I’m considering to marry a complete stranger? I have no idea what his name is, what he does, what’s his favourite colour or his favourite movie.
            In fact, I’m far from comfortable about the entire situation, but it’s my fault for not asking my parents anything about him beforehand.
            This is just the beginning, I convince myself, taming my panic attack. It’s only the first meeting. I don’t have to decide right away…. Mother promised. Father promised.
            Next thing I know, the teacup slams back down on top of the tray. Startled, I blink, but I refuse to look up at him. What if he’s hideous? I imagine his character via his shiny black shoes and grey trousers. Smart? I hope.
             I look back at the empty teacup on top of the tray and I realize what he’s done. Mr. Potential-Husband-to-be has sipped my tea, in its entirety, despite the fact that I mixed into it, salt, instead of sugar. Salt, my desperate
attempt to make him hate my tea so much that he’d hate me.
             I decide that he deserves a glance. He has a sweet smile.
            “The tea was lovely. May I have another cup?” he asks.
             I giggle. Feeling Mother’s glare on me, I quickly cover my mouth and scurry into the kitchen. I’m making another cup of tea for Mr. Husband-to-be, mixing in sugar this time. 


            As nature intended, I familiarize myself with every door, corridor, and staircase in our British home. I’m accustomed to darkness so in the middle of the night, if I need a glass of water or to use the toilet, neither do I open my eyes nor turn on the lights. I’m programmed to know my home.
            Even marriage is a routine. During the week, I serve my husband, Jagirdar, tea and breakfast. When he comes home in the evening, the table is set for dinner. On weekends, he prefers to be home unless out with friends. I, Rumi Jagirdar, am a homemaker because my Bangladeshi high school education does not measure up to British standards of office work or, so, my husband claims. I trust him. I trust that everything my husband does and says is right. If I were on one end of the blind justice scale and he, on the other, he would always be more right than I.
            The smoke detector alarms. I dash down the stairs and turn the gas off in the kitchen. The house is pungent with the smell of burnt rice. I open all the windows and doors of the house. I, then, put on another fresh pot of rice. While that pot boils, I attempt to salvage some immaculately white rice from inside the burnt pot. But, it’s all doomed. The rice at the top is off-white, the rice at the middle is brown and the rice at the very bottom is a black bed that is impossible to scrape out. I have to throw the pot away as it’s damaged.
            It’s nearly 7:00 p.m. He’s going to home any minute, expecting dinner to be spread across the table. While I wait for the new pot of rice to boil to completion, I think about how our rice cooker had been dead for a week now. He promised to give me some cash to purchase a new one, but he forgot. I hope he remembers tonight.
I hear the sound of keys outside. He’s early! Think of an excuse, any excuse that can save me from the embarrassment, I tell myself. The rice burnt because I fainted. I hate lying to him.
            Spraying away with the lavender-scented canister, I run to the door. I welcome him in.
Sniffing the air, he asks, “Is something burning?”
             “The rice….”
             “You left it on the stove and forgot all about it again, didn’t you?”
             “No, I fa….” I hate lying to him. “I’m sorry, but there’s a fresh pot, almost ready.”
             “I’m starving,” he robotically replies as he places his coat on the rack and takes off his shoes.
              “By the time you freshen up, the table will be set. I promise.” I smile, my mouth quivering.
              He swiftly lashes his belt out from his trousers. I squint my eyes as I’m a mere two feet in front of him and his belt could whip against the wall and  against my arm. It misses. I step away from him, but he steps forward and lashes the belt out against the wall again, nearly hitting me.
              He looks like a ravenous lion on the hunt for his prey.
             “I’m hungry,” he repeats. “And with all these windows and doors open, I’m freezing cold.”
              The heels of my bare feet hit against the staircase, causing me to fall back. The purple canister rolls out of my hands. As if animal instinct, he’s suddenly mesmerized by it.
              Then, with fiery eyes, as red as the sun was on the first day I met him,
              Jagirdar rhetorically asks, “You think that sweet lavender scent mixed with the burnt rice odour is…soothing to the nose?”
I gulp down tears. Don’t cry; remember what happened the last time you cried? Don’t cry, I secretly whisper to the generator of all emotions, my heart. Then, I remember reading a biology library book on the heart as an involuntary organ, which means that it’s out of my control.
               I start sobbing.
               As the tears cascade down my cheeks, I shut my eyes tightly, believing that if I don’t see the belt, I won’t feel the sting of it.
My forgetfulness causes the house to nearly burn down.
               Somehow, I feel that, had the house gone ablaze and I became its victim, the amount of pain endured would have been the same as I endure every single day…from him. 
               It is now 7:10 p.m. and it is only be beginning.


            Mother throws away her favourite perfume.
            I ask her, “If you don’t want it, then give it to me.”
            “Then, I’d have to smell it,” she replies. “Perfume is just one of the many scents of life that trigger our memory. The most beautiful scent can have the foulest memory attached to it. I cannot count the number of times I’ve worn that perfume,” she points to the ornate bottle, buried beneath a pile of trash, “I’ve either lost money or had a terrible squabble with a neighbour. Every time I smell it, I’m reminded of that.”
            In my British home, I inhale the aroma of spices, brewing within the teapot and bringing to my senses the memory of the day Jagirdar first made me laugh. I inhale the scent, thinking back to the first few days of our marriage, when he’d leave for work and I, feeling alone, made more tea.
Within an instant, those feelings are lost in the haze of the rising steam. My face drops and I force myself away from the stove. I wonder why the aroma is suddenly unbearable to my senses.
            As I prepare the tea cup, I analyze why I’m feeling miserable. Could it be that the smell of the tea reminds me of the day I decided to get married and leave my parents and my home in Bangladesh, behind?
            Pouring the tea into the cup, accompanied by a side of meat samosas and buttered crumpets, I present them, as evening snacks, to my husband. His eyes seem hinged to the monitor of his laptop.
            “Have your tea while it’s hot,” I muster up in my sweetest tone.
            As if spasmodically, he accepts the tea only for a second before
pitching it against my chest.
            “I don’t want your tea!”
            As the hot tea scolds my chest, I wonder why he’s acting strange as I didn’t smell any alcohol on his breath today. Instinctively, I want to run to the bathroom and pour a cold shower down my chest. But, I can’t.
            He forces his eyes away from the laptop, slams it shut and springs up from his chair. By firmly locking his fingers around my right wrist, he forbids me from leaving the bedroom until he finishes his tirade.
            “You’ve been using my laptop when I specifically told you not to.”
            “How did you…?”
            “I scanned my internet history and saw searches for things I wouldn’t normally search for.”
            Trying to ignore the excruciating pain of his claws in my veins, I reply, “I was too tired to walk to the library today, just to use their computer.”
“And why do you need to use a computer?”
“I get bored of watching TV all day.” Furiously shaking my head, I blurt, “I won’t use your laptop again, I promise.”
            “You always break your promises.”
I feel faint, but I welcome it. Maybe then, I won’t feel my wrist throbbing or my chest burning.  
Releasing his grip, he says, “Clean this mess up.” He refers to the brown spots, like a still sepia-toned image of fireworks, on the wall behind me. He returns to the laptop.
             I’m free to clean myself up and return to wipe the wall with a washcloth. My hand tremors, but I clean as quickly as possible. I want to avoid another confrontation.
             “I see you’re searching for words like ‘love,’ ‘lovemaking,’ and ‘marriage advice.’” His voice darkens near the end.
The tremors in my hand abruptly stop. I regret not deleting the history. I wonder if it makes a difference whether I explain myself or not…he will always decide that I’m worthy of punishment. I continue scrubbing the wall.
               He violently grabs my right wrist again, pulls me toward him and says, “What did you learn today? Answer me.”
               “Nothing that I didn’t know already,” I try not to sound like a wise-ass, but I know I fail as soon as he slaps me across my right cheek.
                The night before I got married, my mother told me that love is agonizing, but the aches subside after a few days. What she must have meant is that love-making is momentarily painful. She also told me that marriage is compromise, which I confirmed Online, today. So, I tolerate Jagirdar’s tantrums as I have been.
                I notice he’s submerging his eyes deeply into mine as if he wants to extract ‘hate’ out of me…hate for him, that is. I hate what he does to me, but I could never hate him. He knows it too and it infuriates him. I ask myself four questions, of which only three, I can answer:
                Do I love him? I don’t understand the term ‘love’… yet.
                Do I make love to him? I never get the chance; he beats me to it.
                Are we in a marriage? We have a contract.
                Why can’t I any longer bear the smell of cloves, cumin seeds, and cinnamon brewing in tea? I have no idea.


               Two dozen roses.
Behind them is neighbour, Pari, a tall, adolescent girl in Bohemian fashion. She rarely visits and now she brings me flowers? I wonder.
               “The delivery man left these at our doorstep by mistake. They’re for you,” she says in her deep and monotonous tone.
               Thank God Jagirdar isn’t home to witness this.
               Then, Pari reveals, “It’s an apology, from your husband.”
               I’m slightly relieved, but feel violated. “You checked the card?”
               “I had to. How else would I know who the bouquet was for!”
               Just as an echo only reaches the ear after it has been first spoken, I realize what Pari just said. It’s an apology. I frown. He’s turned a symbolism of love into a symbolism of pity. I invite Pari inside. While she helps herself to the kettle, I dump the flowers into a crystal vase full of water. Plop goes the sound. Pitiful plop.
               “Pari,” I pronounce in the Bengali accent Parree, before she corrects me.
               “Pari, pronounced like the French term for ‘Paris,’ the city of love.”
For some reason, I feel the name does not suit her.
                We sit in the drawing room, staring into the tabula rasa of empty roses at the centre of the coffee table.
                “He doesn’t deserve you,” she blurts out. “I’ve grown up next-door to Mr. Jagirdar. My family and I know him to be a…rough character.”
                I want to say, ‘Rough is an understatement,’ but I refrain, simply
nodding in agreement. After all, my relationship is nobody’s business, but my
               “We hear it every night.” By ‘it,’ she must be referring to his tantrums.  “Terraced walls,” she smirks, “we can have a conversation right through them, no need for a telephone.”
               Upon hearing this revelation, should I be embarrassed? I wonder.
               “I like to see photo albums," she says. 
I go upstairs and grab the only two I own, one of my wedding and the other of my childhood.
                Beginning in chronological order, she scrutinizes the last image in my childhood album, which portrays my scrawny body, posing by a lake, with my braided hair slithering down from my shoulder to my waist. I’m smiling.
                “Is this you?” she asks.
                “Of course. It’s right before my wedding. It’s only been about a year since.” How could she not recognize me?
                 She compares the photograph from me, at present. As if her vision is blurry, she squints her eyes at the photograph. She then leads me to the large mirror in the corridor. Handing me the photograph, she practically demands that I compare the image to my 'life-size' reflection. 
                 How could she recognize me when I can no longer recognize myself? With fingers as dry as sand, nails chipped, long brown lines running through them, and my eyes supported by large dark cushions beneath them...I look aged.
                 “It’s a beautiful day outside,” Pari mindlessly says. “Ride with me.”
Sensing my reluctance, she repeats more convincingly, “Ride with me." Finally, she attempts to sound cheerful and comforting, “It’s okay. I have a
license and no police points. Ride with me." 
                 Appreciating the effort, I follow her to her Ford.
                 She passes the High Street, my comfort corner, where I do my grocery-shopping. We pass the motorway and stop in front of Café L’Amore. Outside and through the windows, the seating arrangement appears to be right out of a French painting, tinseled legs on the table and chairs, swirled up at the edges. Each table is adorned at the centre by a petite pot of live daisy.
                  As I take off my seat belt and am about to exit the car, I feel a firm grip on my shoulder. Pari beckons me to stay inside and look out of the car window. Outside of the café, there is a tall slender woman in business attire and black pencil-heeled shoes. She embraces her lover, a tall man with sleek black hair. Once the woman moves aside and locks her hand with the man’s, I see more clearly who her lover is…my husband! Jagirdar has been having an affair and I have a feeling that Pari knew about it.
                  My heart is a wildfire as like a favourite movie scene that one would replay, I loop the term, ‘I hate Pari’ in my head. I hate Pari. By the tenth attempt to engrave that sentence within myself, I fail. I know…I know I should not hate Pari.
                  She then hands me a business card. “I help women like you, who suffer from domestic violence.”
                   Noticing my puzzled expression, she elaborates, “Domestic violence is when someone close to you like a family member or husband is hurting you.”
                  I still do not understand her ‘business’ because my relationship is not her business.
                  Then, Pari says something that hits me harder than I have ever been
hit, even  by Jagirdar. “Your relationship with Mr. Jagirdar is not a normal
marital relationship; it is not how a normal marriage should be.”
                 Her emphasis on the term ‘normal’ grips my tongue, mute.
                 “I can help you, if you let me.”
                 “I’m not leaving him.”
                 “That’s something that you can decide for yourself, later. The first step is to admit that he is wrong to hit you.”
                 Wrong. Not normal. I contemplate on the terms.
                 Here I am, thinking that marriage is compromise and by compromise, it means that I should accept my husband, flaws and all…right? Wrong.
                 Marriage involves physical intimacy, but it’s been one year and still, physically unbearable. Mother’s known to exaggerate, but not to lie, especially to me.
                I remember seeing my mother and father sharing laughs many times. Yet, the only time I shared a laugh with Jagirdar was probably the day I first made him tea. After that, I do not remember how genuine our laughs became.
                It’s all too much. I burst into tears like a continuous fountain. If only…he hated my tea. If only…he hated my salty tea!
               “It’s okay,” Pari whispers, rubbing my shoulders. “I understand.”
She understands? She’s unmarried, or is she?
               “Are you married?” I sniff, choke, and blubber.
               “No,” she replies. “But I know that neither wisdom nor experience has anything to do with age or marital status. We each have our own pace. I want to help you and you shouldn’t feel ashamed to accept it.”
               I do not know what to expect. A blunt, young woman showed up at my doorstep today. I boldly followed her, beyond my normal boundaries. She has no idea, but I do, of the fact that I had already accepted her help, almost an hour ago.